When I was little, I had a Mickey Mouse alarm clock.
His arms were the hour hand and the minute hand, and there was a teeny tiny Mickey that was the second hand. Since I was little, I didn’t know exactly how to work it, so it would randomly go off and make a really loud ringing noise and shake like it was having a seizure. Poor clock. And then my parents took it away from me — I guess that after waking everyone up at 3 in the morning more than once, I lost my alarm clock privileges.
When I was older, I had my really cool Sony alarm clock. It was also a radio (how cool is that! a radio!), so I would wake up to my favorite music. The snooze button gave me seven extra minutes of sleep. But then, of course, seven turned into 14, which turned into 21, which turned into my being late for school. What did I need an alarm clock for if I wasn’t going to listen to it? (Clearly this was a trend because I didn’t really listen to my parents, or my teachers, so there was no chance I was listening to a clock.)
In the end, the most effective method for waking me up was my dad coming into the room and saying, “If you don’t get up now, I am not driving you to school and you will have to walk.” Extremely effective.
Fast forward to 20-some-odd years ago, when I became a mom and my babies became my alarm clock. No snooze button on those things. They screamed their cute little brains out, until I came to feed them or change them or just look at them — babies are much harder to read than clocks. Once you run out of options and they are still screaming, you start to resort to all sorts of unique techniques — music, dancing, begging, pleading, and crying. When they start eating solid foods, you can bribe them with treats. (Yes, I know, bad mom … but it’s survival of the fittest.) When they are old enough to play independently, you can give them a bunch of toys and you have earned about 30 minutes of quiet time for yourself. If you get really desperate, and really lucky, you give them a sibling close in age, and then they have an actual live-in playdate to keep them occupied.
Now I know that there are parents who give their children the responsibility of waking themselves up every day. I am not one of those parents. I have had the pleasure of waking my children up for school almost every day of their lives. And I am the snooze button as well. I get a smile and a wave. (What parent can resist the smile?) Sometimes they forget that I ever woke them up at all, and we have to start all over again. Those mornings don’t go so smoothly, but that is okay because I take any and all time I can get with my boys, even if it involves the phrase “You are so annoying!” (Music to any parent’s ears….)
However, I always look forward to the weekend. I look forward to Shabbos, because I don’t have to wake them up. Husband #1 is in charge. I gave him three sons and he can take them all to shul. Had he given me three daughters, I would be in charge, but I am a proud boy mom and I am also fine with my role of not having to go to shul three times a day. (No judgment, please.) He takes them to shul and he gets to wake them up. After all, there are no alarm clocks you can use on Saturdays. WRONG!
As a high school graduation present, a dear friend of mine got my boys kosher clocks. Yes, they are what their name implies — they can be used on Shabbos and holidays. (No, they cannot be eaten, even with their hashgacha.) This means that, for example, when all five of us are in one room over a Shabbos, this handy dandy clock can wake you up to the classic tune of “Shabbat Shalom — hey!” At least I think that is the tune; it went off so early in the morning, it could have been playing Jingle Bells for all I know. And I also find it curious that this clock takes away the fun of having their father wake them up. Which means that he doesn’t get the “You are so annoying, leave me alone.”
Hmm. I am assuming this clock was invented by a dad to avoid this very scenario.
But that is okay, because even with them telling me how annoying I am, I still get to sneak in a hug or a (shh, don’t tell their friends) kiss — and that is worth a lot more than any clock-snooze button after all!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck used to be able to sleep for hours and hours. But then she had her boys, and 12 hours of sleep is all but a pleasant memory.